BARBOURMADNESS

IN BLACK AND WHITE . . . This FIFA graphic explains the key event that led to the chaos at Barbourfields yesterday

IN BLACK AND WHITE . . . This FIFA graphic explains the key event that led to the chaos at Barbourfields yesterday

Ricky Zililo in BULAWAYO and Robson Sharuko in HARARE
THE Zimbabwe football family plunged into yet another brutal soul-searching exercise yesterday, amid a scramble for the football rule book after the Castle Lager Premiership showdown between Highlanders and Dynamos was abandoned at Barbourfields amid depressingly familiar chaotic scenes.

An explosive game before a sellout crowd ended prematurely in the 42nd minute when the match officials called it off after some Bosso fans, angered by DeMbare’s disputed equaliser, staged a rebellion and refused to let the assistant referee — whom they blamed for not spotting an offside leading to the goal — take his place on the line.

Not even spirited calls by the Bosso leadership, players and even coach Elroy Akbay for the rebellious fans to let the game proceed could cool down the tempers and, after a prolonged break in which the assistant referee was also hit by a flying object, the match was called off.

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It’s the second time, in the past seven years, that a league match between the country’s two biggest football clubs has been abandoned at Barbourfields. When the two giants met in a league match at the same venue in 2010, the game was also called off with Dynamos leading 2-1 before the Glamour Boys were handed the match on a 3-0 scoreline in the boardroom.

Yesterday’s ugly events were in direct contrast to the huge party that erupted in the City of Kings last year after Highlanders beat their biggest rivals to complete back-to-back wins over a Dynamos team they had last beaten in a league match in 2006.

The off-the-field madness also overshadowed a beauty of a goal scored by the Bosso skipper of the day, Rahman Kutsanzira, whose sweetly struck shot, from just outside the box, was a very, very fine strike.

Kutsanzira caught the DeMbare defence having a siesta, deceived by a clever training ground move where the ball, from a corner, was not flighted into the box but was threaded into the path of the diminutive forward who struck with precision to drill the ball past a forest of legs and into the corner. Then, with just three minutes to the break, Dynamos got the goal that sparked all the commotion.

The Bosso defence failed to clear their lines after Ocean Mushure sent in a ball from a free-kick and when Elisha Muroiwa tried to fire it goalwards, the ball took a deflection off a Highlanders defender and into the path of Cameroonian forward Christian Ntoupa Epoupa who had been in an offside position when the ball was initially hit. The forward kept his cool and lifted the ball home while the assistant referee Thomas Kusosa kept his flag down.

Chaos was on the horizon.

But was the Cameroonian offside?

What does the rule book say?

A shot by a teammate rebounds off an opponent to attacker who is penalised for playing or touching the ball having previously been in an offside position — offside offence.

A player in an offside position at the moment the ball is played or touched by a team-mate is only penalised on becoming involved in active play by: (i) interfering with play by playing or touching a ball passed or touched by a team-mate or (ii) interfering with an opponent by preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or challenging an opponent for the ball or clearly attempting to play a ball which is close to him when this action impacts on an opponent or making an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of an opponent to play the ball

A player in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent who deliberately plays the ball (except from a deliberate save by any opponent) is not considered to have gained an advantage. A ‘save’ is when a player stops a ball which is going into or very close to the goal with any part of the body except the hands (unless the goalkeeper within the penalty area).

Gaining an advantage by being in that position means playing a ball that rebounds to him off a post or crossbar, having previously been in an offside position, playing a ball, that rebounds to him off an opponent, having previously been in an offside position.

Confusing?

In a way yes!

Malawian football agent Felix Sapao, who watched the match on television, said the Cameroonian wasn’t offside.

“I watched the Bosso vs DeMbare match on TV. The assistant ref was right,’’ he said.

“If a ball is touched by the defending team last and then taken by an offensive player who was offside, it’s not offside. You see that the ball clearly came off a defensive player who was attempting to clear a shot at goal.

“That touch by the defensive player puts the offensive scorer onside although he was initially in an offside position. Even if the offensive player was initially in an offside position. When the shot was taken, the defender’s touch nullified the offside position and played the offensive player onside. The goal was legitimate.’’ The result of the blockbuster will now be determined in the boardroom and Highlanders are likely to be sanctioned for their fans’ behaviour. The scenes at Barbourfields were captured on SuperSport, which started broadcasting matches for the 2017 season on Saturday, and the disturbances were clearly not the best way to market local football.

Facing off in a year the PSL is celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Highlanders and Dynamos clash had lived to its billing, with the atmosphere at Barbourfields electric.

With both teams clearly ready to trade blows, in a very open game that could have produced a number of goals and enough entertainment for the fans, it’s sad that the big match had to come to such a premature end and the dominant story, this week, will not be on the players — who played their hearts out — but on events they had very little control over.

The start of the game was delayed for 15 minutes to allow thousands of fans, who were still trapped in queues outside the stadium, the chance to make their way into the ground and watch this big showdown. Although, for the better part of the week, the match had been overshadowed by CAPS United’s Champions League commitments, with the Green Machine beginning their group campaign in Egypt on Friday night, the two giants showed their pulling power with thousands of fans coming to Barbourfields. Sadly, it’s another game that will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

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  • Ijaha leMzinyathini

    Just punish the club or force it to play in an empty Stadium. That way the nonsense will stop

    • te

      true zvanyanya

  • maonero

    You are confusing yourself Mr Sharuko .Just behave posing the Confusing question you put the rule that clearly shows the player was offside then you chose to rely on a so called expert ignoring the rule book

  • Famba Zion

    Sapao is correct guys, follow latest trends in football rules!!! Bosso must be punished full stop!!!

  • yowe

    That was just embarassing …

  • Ronald Sibanda

    That was a perfectly legitimate goal.Felix Sapao’s (echoed by Alois Bunjira) interpretation is absolutely spot on. Chronicle reporters play a big play in inciting violence at BF by failing to strongly and unreservedly condemn violence……..surprisingly Highlanders has occasionally benefitted from incompetent officiating and this has never been highlighted by the Chronicle’s Zililo and S’khumbuzo.## Chronicle reporters are blinded by their undying love for Highlanders……just check today’s reports on the match in the Chronicle.

  • benedict manyundwa

    Varume BHORA ioffside,1 + 1=2,there are no alternatives answer to this

  • Aly

    But its Ricky Zililo, stauch Bosso journo who wrote the article! You sir are pathetic. The rules changed. Its 2017! you can just google them!

  • maita

    But the Malawian ref is correct Herald has used a 2004 rule which has since changed. That defender tried to defend and miscued the ball an Oupa pounced, genuine goal.

  • Mbuluki Mguni

    #No to Violence

  • Hacha Duke of Enkeldoorn

    Hacha critically analysed the footage and concluded that there is a critical issue that all people are missing. When Muroyiwa shot the ball forward, Epoupa was “offside”. However he was running back into the field and was “onside” by the time that the deflection was played to him. That is a critical aspect that all critics are ignoring or have missed. Therefore the correct interpretation is that a player gets an advantage if he was originally in an offside position when the ball is played forward by his team mate but is now in an “onside” position when the ball is deflected to him by an opponent. Clearly the play (deflection) by the Bosso player cancelled the original offside as the Bosso player played the ball to an offensive player who was now onside. When he got the deflected ball Epoupa was level with the player who was behind him. However for some strange reason the assistant referee was not level with the players at the critical moment when the ball was played forward. He had gone inside when the ball was cleared from the Highlanders goal area and was now running back when the ball was played forward by Dynamos. That is very poor for a linesman because he was following the ball instead of keeping level with the defensive line.

    • peace maker

      I am not sure if you understand what you are saying. Firstly, its not correct to say that the striker “was onside by the time the deflection was played to him.” We were there in the stadium, he was still offside. You can see the footage which is circulating on WhatsApp. Secondly, your statement that “Epoupa was level with the player who was behind him” clearly shows that you don’t know what you are saying. How is it possible for a player to be “level with” another player “who is behind him”? Confused and just saying things out of blind support!

  • Hacha Duke of Enkeldoorn

    See my comment – you also missed a critical issue. The attacker was now onside when the ball was deflected to him.

  • Mazorodze Mapwashike

    “If we didn’t WIN then the match was RIGGED!” That’s BOSSO for YOU!

  • MurozviMukuru

    Once again journalists writing about the sport they have little knowledge of the rules for. The Bosso defender played Dembare’s attacker onside.

  • MurozviMukuru

    Who are the Bosso hooligans who want to appoint a linesman of their choice?
    They should suck on that non-offside call and smoke it

  • MurozviMukuru

    Herald live stop censoring my comments you dimwits and imbeciles.

  • MurozviMukuru

    Because when the ball was struck, the ‘offside’ player was not interfering with play.

  • MurozviMukuru

    They should put the image from the actual match not some random screenshot from FIFA’s rule book

  • MurozviMukuru

    Yadha was not prayed for as Magaya was perfecting his ponzi scheme

  • Masaisai

    There will always be a tint of tribalism everywhere. But things have vastly improved especially in Western Zimbabwe (I hate the name Matebeleland because there are other ethnic groups). Highlanders has big support from people of different ethnic backgrounds. The team is also a good mix when it comes to players. Therefore tribalism is not really an issue at Highlanders . We have a few subtle tribalists and a few rowdy and naughty ones too. We must just put those in check. With modern technology, it’s easy to identify them.